Continuing education in Slovakia – a short review

Continuing education in
Slovakia – a short
G.M. Timčák,
Technical university, Košice
Historical background of HE
in Slovakia
The higher education system in
Slovakia is historically linked to the
educational system in the former
Czech and Slovak Federal Republic,
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic,
1st and 2nd Czechoslovakia, The Slovak
State and the Austro-Hungarian
First universities on Slovakian
Academia Istropolitana, Posonium
Jesuit University in Trnava (1635 1777)
 Mining Academy of Banská Štiavnica
(Schemnitz) (1735-1764 -1919)
University in Košice (Cassovia) (1660 –
HEIs in Slovakia today
In Slovakia, at present, there
22 state run HEIs;
One private university (in
Continuing education history
 Between 1960 and 1966 continuing, inhouse training could lead to secondary and
even tertiary degree
 The "Project for development of educationaltraining system" of 1976 divided further
education into 3 fields: in-school, out of
school and in-house education.
 In the 1970-80 period, three levels of
carrying out continuing education were
identified: 1. central (government, ministry)
2. second level (industry sector, branch,
county) 3. basic level (enterprise).
Continuing education history
In the above mentioned period, CE was
provided by:
 „Houses of culture", „Houses of technology“,
„Academies“ – in cooperation with
enterprises and HEIs
 Universities provided graduate, „Distance
education“ of earlier type
 Conitnuing education and lifelong education
as a term came to life only after 1990
CE after 1990
 Many small and medium companies emerged, that
provided non-degree, CE courses.
 Universities started (through TEMPUS and other
EWU projects) establishing Centres for CE, LLE or
other forms of further education
 Professional organizations started providing nondegree, or post diploma studies.
 In cooperation with Labour Offices, „Requalification“
courses could be provided by any of the above
 In year 2000, 291 institutions were active in further
education in Slovakia.
Certain professions like humane and
veterinary medicine had special
provisions for professional further
education within state run Institutes
of further education. This holds true
also today.
Accreditation of CE courses
Though not on a compulsory basis, CE courses can be
accredited at the Ministry of Education, which has a
number of accreditation committees.
Accredited courses have a greater weight/impact for
the employer, though at present there is no
legislative norm according to which the employer
should acknowledge further education
During during its 10 years of existence, the
Accreditation committee accredited approx. 7000 to
8000 courses.
Act on further education
In 1997, the Act No. 386/1997 Col.
on further education was passed.
It defined and classified further
education institutions, forms, levels,
certificates and accreditation levels
(accredited, non-accredited,
CE and HEIs
Though sometimes through loopholes in the legislation, distance
education and CE courses gave HEIs a possibility to get "real
money„ and to become market oriented. Students were
donating fees to universities on the base of individual
contracts. Ministry of education monitored the situation from
1998 and included this issue as a major issue during the
discussion about new Act on HEIs.
The new Act No. 131/2002 on HEIs came to effect on April 1st
2002. There, on-campus and off-campus study (under- and
graduate as well as postgraduate study; the first degree) is
defined as free of charge.
This decision will certainly decrease the enthusiasm of HEIs to
provide certain forms of DE and CE.
Example - CE at TU Košice
 Local Centre for Distance Education
established in 1992 („PHARE“ funding)
 Institution of Lifelong Education established
in 1996
 Centre for Continuing Education established
in 1996 (TEMPUS „DECENT“ funding)
 At present most of the Slovakian HEIs
have units that provide CE courses
 No statistics is available as to the
numbers of students or their
age/position structure.
Financial resources for further
(Source UIPS Bratislava 2000)
State budget
Sending organisation (juridical body)
Profits from other activities of educational organisation
Other sources (not from the state budget)
Labor Office
Total in thousands of SK (=1/42 EUR)
Target groups of CE
As at present, the UCE in SK is oriented mainly to the
professional area and the target groups are
professionals usually possessing some university
Language, IT and communication skills courses are
among the most popular CE courses.
The universities run Senior Citizens´ University system
that provides courses for people in 3rd age.
The non-university sector provides all types of nondegree courses.
UCE target groups
 HEIs are now trying to make outreach
programmes for the general public, but the
expressed need for more demanding courses
is insufficient at present.
 With the increasing student to teacher ratio
(now typically 10:1), the workload of the
teachers is high and the hiring of
independent experts makes the courses
Future of CE in SK
 History shows that laws and regulations create a
frame, which then sets-up organisational and
financial provisions. In the situation, where 99% of
students are in state managed schools, the state
should create a more free entrepreneurial
environment for distance and lifelong education.
 The present Act on HE does not support the
development of distance education as without a
financial impetus there is no way, how to motivate
the underpaid university staff and heavily
underresourced HEIs.
The future of CE in SK
In SK, the Ministry of Education of SR is responsible for
the whole area of further education.
It should propose how to finance its various forms and
should introduce greater freedom to HEIs in
generating and collecting resources.
The quality of CE programs should be monitored by
the Ministry.
A policy of HRD should be conceived that would
include the acknowledgement of mastering CE
courses by employers.
Employees should be motivated to learn in a lifelong
Future of CE in SK
 The overall CE legal environment is quite volatile
(the interpretation of the legal norms is far from
 This makes it difficult to engage in strategic issues
vital for a healthy CE supply
 The society does not demand at present too much
of CE, but this is slowly changing
 The individual cutomer is usually unable to pay
realistic prices for CE courses
 Corporate clients tend to have have in-house
training facilities, but they often run them in
coopewration with HEIs
 SMEs usually have no time to spare for CE.
Future of CE in SK
 The high unemployment rate (more than
20%) makes requalification courses a nice
niche for HEIs, but there is heavy
competition for such contracts
 The shortage of funds are compensated by
HEIs through grant oriented CE course
development and provision.
Popularity of CE in SK
The number of CE participants is
estimated to be about a 1/10th of the
number of full time students. There are
more than 100 000 undergraduate and
graduate students in Slovakia now.
This should change during the EU
accession process as every adult
should participate in some form of CE.
Babinsky M. 2001: Trends in the
development of UCE, manuscript